Korg revealed this weird square shaped stage piano at Winter NAMM back in January. Ahead of its release at the Summer Namm next week Korg have released a video and more information about this huge Grandstage stage piano.
Available in 73 and 88 note versions with the “Real Weighted Hammer Action 3” key-bed. The Grandstage is designed to give you all the elegance and feel of a real instrument with none of the style. I mean look at it – I haven’t seen a musical instrument this ugly since those Yamaha MX synthesizers. And this from the company that gave us the sublime and beautiful SV-1. It’s like a car crash of 1970’s Ford Cortina and an over-indulgent modern Roland synth. And then there’s the enormous A-frame stand required to keep it off the floor. No roadie is going to thank you for lugging this thing onto a stage.
Anyway, what does it have going for it? Well, the musical content is fabulous. It’s far more than just a piano sound. The SGX-2 acoustic piano sound engine offers six unique piano instruments. Five grand pianos are captured from Berlin, Heidelberg, Austria, Japan and Italy. The sixth is a newly sampled upright piano of no fixed abode. All of them were sampled in both stereo and monoaurally to give you a choice of how you want it to sit in the mix.
Beyond the acoustic pianos, there are six other sound engines. The EP-1 brings in six electronic pianos covering all the usual suspects. Three engines are devoted to organ sounds, the CX-3 tonewheel, VOX vintage and Compact. With the AL-1 engine, you get analog modelling and the HD-1 brings in a PCM synthesizer so you’re kind of sorted for all things General MIDI. Although it has an obvious focus on the grandeur of real piano, all together it gives you an impressive range of diverse sounds. It also features Korg’s Smooth Sound Transistions (SST). This means there’s no pause or jolt between selecting sounds – the sustain and effects tails all carry on as you switch. That’s a really nice feature.
It’s on the dashboard
On the front panel you have easy access to the effects engine. Also, dynamics and EQ are available right there on the dash. Splits and layers are instantly accessible with the “Keyboards” and “Ensemble” knobs. There’s also a “Panel Lock” button so that you don’t accidentally change anything – which will also be the most hated button when you can’t work out why your keyboard controls are not working.
It’s a thunderingly huge keyboard with a light up KORG logo on the back. It has everything you need except a built-in ashtray. A sophisticated and comprehensive sound engine is overshadowed by the peculiar styling and sheer mass for an instrument that should be portable and elegant.
The 73 note and 88 note Grandstage costs $2,299 and $2,499 respectively and comes with the scaffolding required to hold it up as well as the DS1h damper pedal. More information on the Korg website.